At Blackburne House we pride ourselves with the partnerships we have built over the years. This too includes the beekeepers who work with us on our BEE You project.
As the project has developed it has enabled us to reach throughout Merseyside. As we gain interest in an area we then need to establish a training apiary, or connect with someone in the area who already has one set up. It is essential that we work with people who are local and care about bees the way we do. As part of this ongoing blog we thought it would be nice to share the people and the places that make this possible.
Photography by Andrea Ku
One of our beekeeping tutors is a lady called Andrea Ku. Andrea’s background is in art and landscaping. Andrea has a fabulous community space over in Litherland called Ford Lane Community Garden. Andrea works with a lot of local and not so local people and volunteers growing fresh fruit and vegetables in a community space.On site she also has her own bee hives. Andrea has worked with us to extend her apiary by adding in some of our Blackburne house bees and hives.
The benefit of this means when we are working with schools and young person groups we can access Ford Lane community garden and let them get involved in hive inspections. Some of the schools we have worked with over the last few years are Rowan Park, Rowan High and Cardinal Newman.
The reason why we add hives to existing sites is so that the tutor has a broader resource to work with. Ideally in late spring and throughout Summer a bee hive should only really be inspected once a week. During an inspection you are checking that the hive has a healthy queen and the bees have enough room and food until the next checks. With additional hives, we are able to give students a wider variety of situations that occur in a hive hence a broader education. Teaching involves not only classroom theory but also hands on practical beekeeping in the beehives.
Photography by Andrea Ku
At this time of year, worker honeybees are slowly venturing out of their hives to collect pollen and nectar from late winter and early spring flowering plants such as willow, dandelions, mahonia and crocuses. They also need water for their diet and its not clean sparkling tap water. You may see bees drinking dirty rain water from moss or leaves. They prefer this water as it contains a lot of nutrients and minerals that they need.
Over the next few weeks, look out for the different bees you may see in your garden. The big bumble bees will likely be queen bumblebees that have just come out of hibernation and looking for nectar to give them strength to fly and find a new place to call home.
As we progress with this blog our bee tutors will add much more technical knowledge but in the mean time if you have any questions about Honey bees please get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will aim to answer a few of the most popular questions each week.
Keep safe everyone.
Written by Lynne Kavanagh & Andrea Ku